by Faith (British Columbia)
Three days I ago, at 24, I had an abortion. It’s important to me to share my story for two reasons, I want to own my experience, and I want to help the next girl in my shoes find courage and strength in herself when she makes her choice.
I knew I was pregnant before I took my test to confirm it; I felt in my gut. something was wrong and change was around the corner. I knew even then being a mother was not an option for me, regardless of the fact that I was in a loving relationship, and an adult, and all my friends are having their “oops” babies and living happily ever after, it was not my time.
I dug deep into myself and instinctively knew what I had to do before I even took the test.
My boyfriend assumed this was one of my regular pregnancy scares that would not materialize. We were never as careful as we should have been, and we assumed this would continue without consequence. Wrong.
We bought a test, I forced myself to take it, and we waited for what seemed like hours. I didn’t even feel like I was in my own body when I picked up the test and read the positive result.
I turned to my boyfriend, my eyes now puddles, and fell to the ground.
We had both already decided within ourselves that we had to let this one go, but it was even more clearly communicated in our reaction. He looked at me and promised to be with me through everything that was to come and hold my hand.
I called my step mother right away, since she’s always been my rock, and is a doctor. She supported my choice and helped me focus. This was now just a task to be completed, also wrong.
My man and I googled abortions and learned all about the local clinic and upcoming steps. When I woke up the next morning, I called the clinic right away and was surprised by how easy the process was. They asked a few questions and booked my appointment- for 4 weeks later. I knew the next 4 weeks would be long, hard, and that I would have another heart beating in me the whole time.
In the weeks leading up to my abortion I went through hell. I was violently ill, (I don’t know why it’s called morning sickness when it’s all fucking day) I could throw up 10 times a day. On top of being sick I had no energy, somedays it took 6 hours before I would get out of bed. I didn’t know who I was anymore, I was caught in purgatory.
I could feel unfamiliar things happening to my body. Things I always imagined I would be excited for, and relish, were instead scary and unwelcome. I hated my body, myself. I let my life end. I gave myself permission to give up until this was over. And who would I be then?
I knew things would always be different I would from now on always have been pregnant, and had an abortion. My first baby will never be my first pregnancy, and I got lost.
Then another blow came. My beloved grandfather died. I had to fly to my hometown to attend his funeral. I was so sick on the flight, even though it was only an hour. By the time I finally got off the plane I had to run to the bathroom and vomit. While I was getting sick, the airline sent someone in to check on me. After she asked “do you need assistance?”, I blurted out “no, I’m just pregnant” as I emerged from the stall. Then she hit me with a bullet “congratulations”. The next bullet hit at the funeral, when my very pregnant cousin grabbed my hand and placed it on her swollen belly to feel a small foot push through the surface. And then a final blow at the dinner afterward, when I was to sick to eat and my pregnant cousin joked “what are you pregnant?”.
At that moment, conceivably my lowest point ever, I remembered something I have always known, but forgot when it was most relevant GOD DOES NOT GIVE US MORE THEN WE CAN HANDLE. I would make it through this, just as I have everything else in my life. I am strong. I am a woman. I have a choice. I just needed faith.
I was liberated. I remembered why I made my choice, to live my best life. all I had to do to remain true to myself when this was over was live my life to the fullest. I was now going to use this initially tragic situation as accountability to be true to myself. I found peace and forgiveness and reason to move forward.
I flew home, still sick, still tired, but ready to face my last week pregnant, and inevitable abortion. I always knew my pregnancies fate, but now I owned my choice, I gave it purpose. Of course, through out my pregnancy, I entertained thoughts of growing a baby, having a child, but they never felt legit. It simply was not my time, and that was fine.
I spent the next week still sick, still pregnant, but ready to move forward.
The day before came, the night before came, then it was the morning of.
I was so sick, I was just ready for it to be over. I couldn’t even stand in the shower anymore.
There were protesters outside the hospital (all men), but I held my head high and marched into the clinic.
I no longer suffered with who this would make me, I suffered with the unknown PAIN! I was terrified of the process. I mean these people were going to vacuum out my uterus, and I’m not even good at getting pap tests. None of my research mattered at this point; I was scared for my vagina.
There were three of us in the waiting room, and all of us different ages, races, and circumstance. That was comforting, anyone could find themselves in this waiting room.
The nurse eventually called my name and took me into what was clearly a counseling room. This was the only part my boyfriend was not allowed to be with me for.
My nurse was amazing and put me at ease gracefully. She made certain this was my choice and answered a multitude of questions. After she explained the process from start to finish I was given ibuprofen, antibiotic, and upon request, Ativan. Then I was taken into a room with three hospital beds, and given a skirt to put on, with a pocket for my panties which I was to put a pad in. After I changed, my boyfriend was waiting by my bed.
The ativan kicked in quickly, and calmed my nerves. I also had to drink a really gross liquid to subside my nausea.
The nurses took blood and gave me saline to prevent clotting in an IV. I also opted to have an IUD put in and received information regarding it.
Then I saw the girl from the waiting room re enter the room from what was obviously the procedure room. She Looked fine, had some tears, but overall was not as mortified as I expected someone who had just had an abortion to be. I had been waiting for almost an hour, and knew I was next in line.
I cannot give the amazing nurses and doctors enough credit for being so warm, understanding, compassionate and wonderful. I was completely ready, relaxed, and unjudged.
The procedure room was dark, and small. Jann Arden music was playing in the background. My boyfriend was with me, two lovely female doctors, and the nurse administering medication. I was clearly nervous and one of the doctors took my hand and said “There is no judgement for you in this room, we all fight to be here to make your life better, just relax” I’ll never forget that. I laid back while they took an ultra sound, and started to feel drunk. Within ten minutes it was over. It was essentially painless, Emotionally, and physically. I learned I was only 7 1/2 weeks pregnant, which meant my abortion went very smoothly. I refused to let the process be emotional or sad, so it wasn’t; I joked with my boyfriend and nurse, and made small talk. I was basically unaware of what was going on between my legs. I had to chose that attitude, and it was worth dragging it out of myself.
Then it was over. Just like that.
The doctor knew the girl coming in after me was even more high anxiety and asked me to comment on how easy it was. I walked back into the other room and walked to the young girl who was alone, grabbed her hand, and told her it was nothing and how much better I felt. And I did! I felt 600 pounds lighter. I ate the crackers and juice, and felt the drugs ware off within minutes. It was time to go home, only 2 hours after I arrived.
The pain was really bad on the way home, but not completely unfamiliar, really bad cramps mostly.
I crawled in bed and slept for 5 hours. I woke up brand new. My nausea was gone, my cramps were familiar not to painful and I could move forward.
I am not a victim of my choice.
I am going to live my life and embrace who I am, allowing my hardships to form a strong character within me. I am not the choices I make, neither are you.
Now I have a brand new outlook, and a brand new start. Everything can be positive with time and willingness to move forward, it’s up to you.